George Gascoigne

(1535 – 7 October 1577 / Cardington, Bedfordshire)

And If I Did, What Then?


1 'And if I did, what then?
2 Are you aggriev'd therefore?
3 The sea hath fish for every man,
4 And what would you have more?'

5 Thus did my mistress once,
6 Amaze my mind with doubt;
7 And popp'd a question for the nonce
8 To beat my brains about.

9 Whereto I thus replied:
10 'Each fisherman can wish
11 That all the seas at every tide
12 Were his alone to fish.

13 'And so did I (in vain)
14 But since it may not be,
15 Let such fish there as find the gain,
16 And leave the loss for me.

17 'And with such luck and loss
18 I will content myself,
19 Till tides of turning time may toss
20 Such fishers on the shelf.

21 'And when they stick on sands,
22 That every man may see,
23 Then will I laugh and clap my hands,
24 As they do now at me.'

Submitted: Sunday, May 27, 2001
Edited: Sunday, May 27, 2001

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